Click Here to learn how the cover photo talks about being resourceful.

I have come to the conclusion that I love to build things. It is what drives me. Something about building anything, whether a brand, campaigns, blogs, or actual items, I absolutely love it! I am not sure if it is because I am so proud of being behind the creation of something or just the idea of physically seeing progress but either way…

Because of this passion, I have found myself building multiple things, lots of things, at once.

As you can imagine doing everything at once can add up quickly and become overwhelming.

In the last 3 months in my house alone I have torn down walls and started to add a bathroom, in the basement I have remodeled and added new rooms, and in my backyard I have destroyed a deck and replaced gutters.

I know, I have a problem.. and from my coworkers mouths, “I need to get a life.”

I would be lying if I told you that it wasn’t overwhelming and extremely frustrating creating and maintaining so many projects at once.

But oddly, I have found ways to maximize my time. Most of the projects I create have shared resources that allow me to power through entirely different projects at the same time.

For instance, removing my rotted deck. The demolition from the interior projects was being picked up and there was room for more debris.

And when you give me a saw and an impact wrench, anything comes down in a couple hours.

The same applies to my marketing campaigns. Sometimes I see how some marketing activities open doors to completely different marketing channels that are typically ignored.

To maximize your resources, you need to look for ways that allow you to accomplish more with less resources.

Take for example buying a sales list. The obvious option is to hand it off to your sales reps (which may be just handing it to yourself) and  call and email everyone.

Now this tactic may drive business… But is it the most optimal?

Most certainly not – You are fighting against a lot of variables from gatekeepers, bounce rates due to bad data, and extravagant firewalls.

A low percentage of the list you obtained will truly notice your message or have an understanding of the product you are offering and the need you satisfy.

Oddly, in this same resource you paid for is also a key to a variety of resources that typically go unnoticed and un-executed on.

Such as company name, this in conjunction with their web URL (which is in their email) can become an accounts list in LinkedIn. Allowing your business on top of calls and email, increase reach an leads using targeted content on LinkedIn or even InMails that can always bypass firewalls.

Or even better yet – look for roles in the same company that would be working with the contact you were originally planning to email. (Account Based Marketing-ABM)

Also, using these same emails, you can upload them to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google to match your audience -doing a variety of campaigns to further increase your frequency and reach of the list you purchased.

Now as I have stated in previous blog, there is always uncertainty in small business. Some of these tactics may not be right for your business, but they do all prove the point that anything with a little creativity can lead to new ways to extend resources.

To help small businesses maximize their resources through lead generation. I have compiled a list of marketing channels that are available to marketers to use, divided by the information they have readily available.

eMail is known


Google Display

LinkedIn Advertising

Bing Advertising

Facebook Advertising

Twitter Adverting



Facebook Advertising

Twitter Advertising

Google Display Audience (if employee login available – by creating an affinity aaudience)

Social Media – use their account to grab attention

Direct Mail

Web Behavior

LinkedIn Advertising (retargeting)

Bing (retargeting)

Google Display (retargeting)

Google Display (create an affinity audience)

Industry / Vertical

Buy eMail list

LinkedIn Advertising

Paid Industry Advertising (publishers)

Organic Search

Social Media – Share to industry groups

Google Display – Affinity Target Marketing (publications or popular sites)

Trade Show


Pain Point

Google Ads (keyword search)

Organic Search

Google Display – Creating Audience

LinkedIn Advertising

Paid Industry Advertising

Video Advertising (what tutorial would people be looking for? advertise beforehand)


Google Ads (keyword search)

Organic Search

Google Display (if cloud based, build affinity audience based on login)

LinkedIn Advertising – Target following / user groups or similar for database if target audience uses a tech

YouTube (Video marketing before tutorials)

Share content to User Groups

Trade Show



Organic Search

Google Display – Creating Audience

LinkedIn Advertising – Target following / user groups


Did I miss some? Let me know in the comments!

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The insight is the tool.. not me.

Blogging for business

(Not know the reference of the cover image?)

I commonly get asked why I write a blog.

Originally, I created a blog to help startups and create a personal brand. So I started writing about marketing and small business without ever trying to hide who I am personally, a humorous marketer with a love for dad jokes and gifs.

There is no doubt that I am not the most talented writer. I find typos in almost every post I write!

My writing style (like my mind) jumps from thought to thought very quickly. This off road thought logic and writing style can lead my readership to a state of confusion. (Sorry if I lost you already)

Although, after a couple of posts I started to realize a larger benefit.

I commonly come up with an idea, obsess over it, and then try to immediately take action. Oddly, writing has helped me to become a better marketer, businessman, and even carpenter.

I say carpenter because just recently when I was looking to frame a wall, I stared at an empty space for 30 minutes and yet was unable to come to a decision. Here I was trying to make a perfect plan in my mind, obsessing over it, and yet I could not make a decision. It wasn’t until a professional carpenter told me to just start laying out the basics (aka writing) and then improve on it or change it later. This way, I can see the flaws of my plan as I run into them.

Point is, sometimes it is just best to start laying things out and make adjustments or changes later instead of just coming up with an idea and thinking it is perfect.

When working with a small team it is not always possible to get external feedback, or if you are really passionate you don’t want to hear it.

Writing is an extremely effective way to find items early on that are maybe wrong with the concept in question.

In almost every topic I write, including this one, I will throw out a minimum of 800 words on what is top of mind and how I feel about a topic. I then come back to it a day or two later to proof and adjust.

100% of the time I find flaws in my logic, and because I make the blog public, I am encouraged to find ways to iron out these issues prior to publishing (I know, I probably still missed some).

In the process of making those changes, I also change my whole thought process on that topic. This brings in new insights, concerns, and ways to improve.

So how is this helpful to small business and marketing?

I am not saying everyone should write a blog, but I am saying that moving at the fast pace of a startup may have some flaws due to implementation is commonly the following process:


It may instead be better to slow down a little bit and add a barrier in between:


Through adding the writing step in this process, you are becoming objective to your own reasoning.

I know from personal experience, that I have come up with a lot of horrible ideas that I was passionate about. But when you are passionate about something you tend to see what you want through a pinhole.

Completely ignoring the outside world and variables that will lead to its failure.

By writing down your thought process, and your plan in detail and then coming back to it a couple days later, you notice some items pop out of the wood work as you are in a completely different mindset.

You start to see where emotion and quick thinking led you down the wrong path, where your idea maybe has fallen short, or maybe an area of your idea that needs to be added to because it has incredible potential.

It also allows yourself to insert justification for your reasoning and build credibility or certainty to the concept.

When the passion of the idea is not present, you start to insert research and qualitative facts to back up your reasoning. This can lead you to a more detailed plan, or lead to you improving or disqualifying some of your thought logic.

Lastly – It is something off your shoulders.

If you are like me – you get an idea in your head and you obsess, thinking about it 24/7. And although I do cherish my restless nights in deep thought….

This process has really allowed me to remove it from my mind.

By writing it down I get a feeling of accomplishment because I know I am making an effort toward its execution. But instead of my mind recapping the entire idea in my head, over and over, it is all written down to a point where I can also concentrate on parts of the idea instead of the general holistic concept.

Maybe this doesn’t work for everyone, but I thought I would share.

If you have ways other ways to critique your own ideas and expand on them to make better decision, I would like to hear from you. Let me know via comments or message me directly.

EVERYTHING Small business

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If you do not understand the featured image’s relevance (click here)

What classifies a full-time job?

It commonly comes down to executing 40 hours of “work” a week. This is where the 9-5 comes from:

8 hours per day x 5 days = 40 hours.

Although, be honest, how often are all 8 hours of the day really 100% productive?

So the 9-5 is not to get 40 hours of productive work done, it is more so just clocking in to get paid for 40 hours.

Think what would happen if you applied this logic to your personal life.

You think to yourself:

“Cooking this steak should take an hour” but then you find out you were able to cook it to perfection in a mere 20 minutes..

BUT YOU ARE ON THE CLOCK.. so you sit on the floor (probably crying) for 40 minutes and wait until the work / cooking is done so you can eat.

That sounds and looks absurd right? (and it is)

But is it really that different from the 9-5? Why would we ever measure someone’s productivity or efficiency based on time? Wouldn’t it be better to be based on completing tasks? or maybe even an overall goal?

The thing is, this is a tradition that has been passed on to us. Our culture admires those that work late and questions those that leave early. I myself at time feel bad for leaving early, even if everything I needed to do was completed.

Just sitting there, alone with my thoughts.. until it is 5pm.

Just because you are physically at work, it does NOT mean you are productive.

On the complete flip-side of this, the 9-5 is also the reason for many employees to stop tasks.

Think about any workday, is it the exact same as the one before. Is it full of the same tasks, the same meetings, and the same demand?

If you answered, YES – I am sorry, your job sounds extremely boring!

The truth is work is NOT a constant, it is a variable. Every day has new tasks and new demand, so why should you infer that it can always be done in 9-5. By setting time restrictions to work hours, employees use this as a reason to not meet deadlines, or to not finish a task even if it is near to completion.

[so close]

To illustrate the effect of a 9-5 work environment, here is an illustration:

This is 40 hours of work, but dispersed like a typical work week –  a lot of upfront work.

and typically dwindling down toward the end of the week.

As you can see, Monday and Tuesday have “Past Due / Uncompleted work”. This is because of the tasks/workload exceed 5PM, leaving additional work undone. In some scenarios this is okay if there are no hard deadlines, the tasks can be completed the following day.

But this is not something that should be done repetitively, common rollover of tasks, they pile up and projects typically become behind schedule or abandoned completely, or fall to the responsibility of another team member.

At the end of the week, you notice that there is some unproductive time. This is from the workload depleting and the employee feeling the need to stay at work. This unproductive time has no value added to the company, and the employee is missing out on personal endeavors that they would most likely prefer over sitting at work.

Now, what if an organization was goal or task orientated over time focused?

As you can see, the employee is 100% productive, while clocking in the same amount of time, 40 hours. For the time they have invested extra in the beginning of the week, they made up for by leaving early at the end of the week.

This work style allows for the company to be as efficient as possible, as well as gives employees extreme freedom. If an employee is aware of all the tasks they need to do for the week, they can work more whenever they want to clear up large blocks to leave the office.

Employees that implement this also tend to be more focused on activities that actively help them complete tasks in a smaller amount of time. Due to the fact that non-productive meetings or excursions tend to add more time to their day, they look for ways to automate and streamline their day to be more productive – completing more tasks in less the time.


9-5 practices creates the most unproductive and most expensive workforce

So far we have only discussed this issue on a per employee basis, when really to see the true repercussions of being a time focused company you need to look at it as a whole.

A 9-5 organization creates an excess of work that needs to be done. This leads to one of two outcomes:

  1. The excess work piles up and pushes full departments behind schedule. As seen above, to make up those hours would take 50% more time.
  2. The excess work falls on the shoulders of someone that is a task orientated person, causing specific employees, typically managers, to work long hours to stay on target or meet deadlines.

In the first option, you will find that your business will move slower and deadlines should be taken with a grain of salt.

In the second option, it is possible that with a great manager you still hit deadlines, sadly due to the increased workload of management, the company will witness a high employee churn in management due to the horrible work to life balance.

Managing a 9-5 workforce

To be clear, a 9 to 5 workforce may not always be more inefficient as a task-based employee. For specialized corporate roles that have less variability in their work a 9 to 5 may line up perfectly with the time it takes to complete tasks.

If you are looking to transition to a task-based organization, you may find that the transition can be tough to execute across an entire organization. Everyone has their own preferences, and some employees prefer the consistency of clocking in and out at the same time every day.

For these employees it is best to recognize that because every working day is a constant, tasks assigned and their activates need to be constant too.

  • Limit meetings – Time in a meeting takes away from their tasks
  • Focus on tasks that are more clear-cut over trying new things. More creative or new tasks have more variability in their completion time.

Every employee has an hourly cost and an opportunity (what could someone be doing that may or may not be more productive than what they are already doing) cost. These costs are higher for a 9 – 5 workforce due to the fact that they have a set hourly rate (if there is not fluctuation in their time input) and that time taken from one task, directly takes away from another. These are items to consider when creating new tasks/meeting that disrupt the typical office work schedule.

The transition from time to task orientation

To be 100% transparent, this blog is inspired by 2 books The Lean Startup and Traction.

The lean startup walks through the inefficiency of a workforce that is driven by time, comparing it to the priniciples of lean manufacturing. To do this, businesses should aim to create an environment that instead adapts and adjusts to the workload presented, and finding processes that eliminate bottlenecks for growth. To be the most efficient at doing this, companies need to focus on goals and the tasks that get them to meet their goals, not the time it may or may not take to complete it.

To implement this logic, traction has offered a step by step process into launching this type of workforce. Through the creation of scheduled meetings, finding issues, and driving accountability, businesses are able to more effectively address what is being completed and find the bottlenecks that are getting in the way.


A 9-5 organization is extremely inefficient. When creating a business you need to find ways to make to make your company more focused on completing goals and less focused on “Going to work”.

A company that is task focused tends to be more productive, accurately meet deadlines, and are incredibly creative in streamlining processes (more you automate, less you work). This not only allows employees to have more flexibility and management over their own work schedule, but it also allows companies to be more agile than their 9-5 competitors.

The productive way to read Marketing Carpenter.

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Failing small business

Whenever I come across a house project that I am not sure about, I immediately go to YouTube.

YouTube is an amazing resource for those looking to find out how to do something, and receive a step by step tutorial.

These videos are so helpful that, there are literally stories about people that have constructed full houses by only watching YouTube videos:

Sadly, the same does not apply when starting a business.

There is no tutorial that is foolproof to help you create a profitable company. Many people, like myself, may tell you about channels that MAY help, but the truth is every business is so completely different that nothing really applies across the board.

Larger businesses don’t have this problem of figuring out how to get a positive ROI, or find success. They obtain a massive amount of data and history that allows them to invest in channels that they know are profitable.  They then focus on increasing the performance of those channels in the future to promote growth.

Although you may not have history or data points there is something that you do know:

You Know Nothing!

This is tough to hear, but embracing the fact that you do not know what will grow your business is actually incredibly powerful. By acknowledging that you know nothing, you start pursuing knowledge as well as revenue for your business.

So how does this help? In a couple of ways:

Remove assumptions

When I first started in a start-up environment, I was brought in largely for my Google Ads background. At the time, it was believed that the slow lead generation was due to the fact that we were not grabbing enough traffic from people looking for a similar product.

I created a ton of campaigns targeting similar industries, general technologies and sent ads to a lot of audiences that I thought would find our product irresistible.

I could not have been further from the truth.

Every morning when I would check the leads from the previous day I would find a long list of unqualified leads. Yet, I continued to invest time and money into the campaigns to try to make this channel drive growth.

But see, that was the problem.

I made one very large assumption. I assumed that due to the fact that Google Ads has been extremely profitable in my past companies, that it would be the key to our success here too. Instead, it turned out to be a channel that drained my time and our budget – which most likely could have been spent later.

By acknowledging that you, in fact, know nothing, you hopefully do not make the same mistake. You understand that you should try the channel but do not put all your eggs in one basket.

Redefine Successful Campaigns

If you have ever worked for a larger company, most likely you have come across the use of KPIs. Of course, your goal should always be to perform better but there is a KPI for small businesses that are rarely accepted anywhere else.


Not every campaign has to drive revenue in order to be successful. Remember your business at this time is trying to find it’s preferred channels, therefore finding out which channels are not a great fit are still extremely helpful.

Of course, a failed campaign is never as good as a profitable one, but the truth is a lot of learning came from it. Why did it fail? how does this change your marketing plan? What did we learn and how can it be applied to other campaigns?

These are all takeaways that will lead to you honing in on your target market later. Because of this, there is no such thing as a failed campaign, as long as you learn from it.


Optimize Later

If you are anything like me, most likely you have some perfectionist tendencies. I like to create campaigns that think of everything, and are optimized for maximum performance.

Although if you are still in the learning phase, do NOT spend time focusing on optimization.

The truth is, optimizing campaigns adds more labor and expenses that could be used elsewhere. By spending time creating a better campaign, you are only adding to the costs of a failed campaign.

Therefore, apply the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) methodology to create more campaigns in a far smaller time frame. Forget about the custom images, the unique landing pages, the custom print outs, or the additional development. Instead, look to clone similar campaigns and continue to just slightly alter your current content.


Keep in mind, your KPI is to learn. Once you learn that a campaign is profitable, that is when you optimize.



It would be nice to have the ability to look up a tutorial on how to drive growth for your specific business, sadly due to the uncertainty and uniqueness of every venture that is not possible. You lack of knowledge or uncertainty, therefore, gives you only one option to succeed:

Gain knowledge.

Startups need to embrace the concept that there will be failures. But cumulative failures lead to a path of success.

By learning what messaging doesn’t work and what channels do not drive revenue, you can start simplifying your marketing plan, optimize your time, and focusing on the marketing channels that drive results.

Therefore, your goal should to try everything, fail fast, learn fast, and then double down on what works.

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I will just count it as a failure, and try a different CTA on the next blog.

When constructing a house I sure hope that the builders have an idea of what the finished product should look like.
Without a plan or a blueprint, then it is safe to say that the end product will most likely have some flaws, or at least a couple weird kinks:
You: “Hey Bob, why did you put that pole there?”
Bob: “It felt right… ehhh maybe it could be plumbing, or maybe the house needs a fire pole into the kitchen?
Even though a quick access fire pole into the kitchen is an AMAZING idea, it most likely does not align with the vision of the house you first set out to create.
When constructing a home everything needs to line up to get the finished product you set out to create. Digging the foundation, measuring the rooms, figuring out the plumbing, understanding the electrical is decided before or very early in the building process.

Yet for many small businesses, we do not create a plan for the business culture.

When it is 2-3 employees, culture seems to be the last thing on your mind and most likely you possess a good culture so there does not seem to be a need for anything official.
Although it should be something that you depict clearly and early in your company’s creation.


Because a company’s culture is its fingerprint – it is what makes the company unique, and if it is not identified early it will be lost with the companies growth.
By defining culture you put direction to how your marketing acts, which employees are the best fit for your organization, what HR benefits make sense, and sets the overall vision for where the company is moving.
Basically whatever has made your company thrive needs to be called out and highlighted to make sure that it continues as the number one priority throughout its continuous growth.
When people ask me about what working at a startup is like, I tell them it pushes your creativity to a new level and is always fun. No one that is from a large corporate entity that has asked me that question has responded, “Sounds like my job”
I say this because a lot of startups have similar experiences, but once they grow to a larger size something changes.
Fast growth leads to quick hiring where the need for labor is weighted higher than the need for cultural fit. The revenue grows to a point where trying something new or different is more of a risk than an employee norm.
The company then moves from trying to be a disruptor into trying to hold market share to please shareholders and meet the needs of the quarterly forecasts.
I know what your thinking…
But it is something to consider.
What if the purpose and culture of your company were lost, would it still hold a competitive advantage?

Most likely not.

Although defining your culture can be tougher than expected. But if you follow Traction / EOS, there are some quick giveaways (you should still buy the book btw).
To help define your culture, think about what your company’s purpose is.
I can make the assumption that the purpose in creating any company was not, “To please shareholders”

Was it?:

To provide the best customer service of an industry? If so, you probably need to establish a culture that is customer-centric.
Or was it to launch the most tech-savvy toothbrush? If so, then you need to establish a culture for cleanliness and technological growth.
Whatever your purpose is, think about what values are needed in employees and your company overall to achieve it.
Once your values are established, make sure it is well documented and enforced.
By using your values as a guiding light for your hiring choices, your marketing decisions, and your product development your company will turn into a productive culture that is dedicated to the company’s purpose, and this will be responsible for its dramatic growth.

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Marketers making mistakes

I get contacted by sales people all the time asking me if I would like to attend their events. Oddly and they all seem to use the very same sales pitch. If you receive these calls, then I assume you have heard this sales pitch too:

“Your competitors are attending!”

It is basically going back to the old phrase:

Everybody’s doing it” and reminds you of:

if everybody jumped off a bridge would you too?

Now this sales pitch must be very effective because it is repeated, over and over again.

So why does this technique work for sales people?

Straight emotion

I would be lying if I said that when sales people said that my competition was attending that I didn’t have the immediate urge to attend as well. I am a very competitive person, I believe that my company should have ALL the business and not share any prospect or revenue. (realistic, I know)

Even part of me wants to attend just to single-handedly make it a worse event for my competition. But then logic kicks in. Asking questions such as; is this profitable? Is this the best way to spend the budget?

When I ask myself these questions, I am quick to talk myself out of attending.

See, if I am going to invest thousands of dollars of my marketing budget and take employees away from their day-to-day activities, I want the ability to grab leads and close them quickly without them knowing about my competition.

Just think about it, the instant your competition is at the show, is the instant you will have to get in a discussion about how you compare to your competitors, this prolongs the sales cycle and not to mention probably significantly lowers the conversion rate (assuming your competition is comparable is some way).

Sometimes if the show is large enough, or has the correct audience.. maybe. But most likely, I am leaning towards “no”.

Emotion from competition plays a huge role in our marketing strategies.

Think what you do the instant you want to optimize your site? You go to your competitor’s website and see their meta description to help you come up with keywords, then implement it to your own. This is common practice, but when you break it down – You are actively looking for keywords that are not easily obtainable.

What do you do when you have copy writing issues? You go to your competitors’ marketing materials and see how they talk about their product and copy it. This strategy completely ruins any product differentiation and tends to hurt you rather than help.

Lastly, you look at your competitors; paid search and go afters similar keywords. Now you get to go head to head and pay more per word! Great way to optimize a budget. (totally kidding here)

I am not saying that you should not look at your competitors at all, but I am saying do not base decisions off of it.

In undergrad (go Drake Bulldogs!), I had a creative advertising professor that said, “not all agency ads are good ads.”

At the time we all dreamed of working for agencies and admired all the work that came our of these creative firms. My professor said this to outline that, just because someone is doing something.. doesn’t mean it is done correctly.

I believe this also applies to your competition. How do you know that the content your competitor produces is worth copying? How do you know the keywords are the best ROI? And how do you know their PPC campaign is even profitable?

The truth is, due to our competitive nature – we make assumptions.

Marketing Assumptions

Companies actively choose to go head-to-head without making decisions based on their own data or customer base.

This thought process leads to entire industries to have minimal product differentiation, which then just leads to a battle on price. If you are a very large company with buying power, maybe this is the battle you have always wanted.

Although for the vast majority of companies created, I doubt their mission statements are

“To beat [insert competitor here]”

Most companies set out to be different, they find a niche or weakness in the industry that allows them to quickly grow.

We all start with the creation of a great SWOT analysis to know how we stand out from everyone else. Those that succeed are the ones that actually stick to their niche; building brand loyalty and creating clear product differentiation.

You can do the same, it just means that you do not allow your competitor’s actions to be your guiding light for your marketing strategy. To truly stand apart from your competition, find out who your ideal customer is, understand their pain point., learn how to talk to them, and continually try to improve their brand experiences.

By using your own factual data, you will see an increase in product differentiation, lower cost per customer, and speed of your sales cycle due to your honed in the approach of your customers’ needs.

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It’s your turn to stand out!

In marketing there are commonly two very distinct schools, B2B and B2C. For the most part, everyone thinks that these schools are completely different.  In their defense, there are vast differences in advertising channels, sales tactics, and the length of the sales cycle.

  • Advertising Channels – Facebook might be a great avenue in B2C, for B2B.. a lot  of companies block Social Media. Which you could imagine, makes it tough to receive ads.
  • Sales tactics – Spontaneous purchases / impulse purchases (or for me putting a Mr. Goodbar in the point of sale counter), in B2B you have explain yourself to your boss. “Yeah sorry Bossman, decided to buy a 5lb bag of glitter with the weekly office supplies.. at the time.. I felt like our office could use some pizzazz!!”
  • Longer sales cycles – Of course the sales cycle is longer, you are dealing with a group of humans.. not a single person. Can you remember a time when you tried to go out to lunch with a group of coworkers? You throw out an idea that is combated by a variety of different schedules, eating habits, and objections.. By the time there is a decision you are more excited to to reach an agreement than eating.


But even after all these differences,  B2B is just a group of consumers.

We are all consumers and just because we go to a job, we don’t stop being a consumer. We still hold keep our preferences, our needs, and our wants – we just typically start thinking about the needs and wants of an organization over our own during the 9-5.

And because of these preferences from our personal life, B2C trends typically tend to sneak into and shape B2B behaviors. A great B2B marketer therefore should not look for a completely new idea to transform B2B, but instead dive into current or upcoming B2C trends and see how they can be applied to their business processes. If this is executed in a rather short time-frame, B2B businesses will find themselves light years ahead of the competition.

To drive this concept home, here are some large areas that B2B adopted WAY late, but are now a staple in B2B.


B2B is typically referred to as the slow giant, a giant in buying power.. but it tends to go at snail’s pace.

B2B eCommerce is an area that has proven itself as the avenue for growth. Its revenues are increasing at 2-times the speed of B2C and are projected to hit 6.7 Trillion in sales by the end of 2020.. it is hard to think that any business does not believe e-Commerce is the future of B2B purchasing.

Yet believe me people still do! See B2B for the longest time has been about personal relationships and face-to-face ordering. Originally when eCommerce started in B2C, B2B was quick to push it aside thinking that it would never fit. If they would have implemented at the same time as B2C they would have been correct. This drastic of a change would have come with a massive learning curve, that is why it is best to FOLLOW B2C but not lead.

By following B2C trends, B2B companies can grow sales through new technologies because it is the new preference of buyers, but they do not have to train new buyers because they use it in their consumer purchasing.

Companies like Grainger quickly realized the online advantage and popularity and adopted e-Commerce into their sales strategy. It became a cost efficient way to grow their distribution and new customer acquisition. Their timely integration of this technology led them to dramatic growth and an increase in market-share (especially for online sales). Although many companies are now starting to implement an online store, very few have the power to take market share, unless your Amazon Business ($8.6 billion in sales first year released).

Free and/or Fast Shipping

Remember years ago when Amazon started doing free shipping? Everyone thought they were utterly insane and that it made their margins too thin. Well they clearly proved us wrong, they showed how a great customer experience can grow a business exponentially in no time.

Although, now because consumers are use to it from Amazon, every other online retailer must follow suit to remain competitive.

This has also trickled into B2B, with the evolution of eCommerce there has been a smaller emphasis on one-to-one relationships and more on the experience of buying. This explains why so many B2B eCommerce sites fail!

(Not a B2B site.. but you get the point)

Companies launch these prehistoric ill designed websites and say, “Customers you can now order online!” but they never seem to ask themselves what their competitive advantage is after launching. With the online store eliminating the need for the one-to-one relationship there is no emotional connection to your brand outside of it’s online customer experience. Fast and/or free shipping is a great way to remain competitive and offer that customer experience consumers crave.


I can guarantee that either you are or you know a friend that is utterly loyal to a brand. The one brand that pops into my head is Apple.

They have a cult following that if they see you with an Android they will almost immediately become offended. They just can’t comprehend why someone would ever buy something that was not Apple. The best part about it, is that they typically can not say one thing that makes an iPhone better on a technical or feature based standpoint. But the one thing that is clear, they are emotionally attached.

For a long time emotional selling that creates a loyal consumer base was largely seen as only a B2C tactic. B2B was seen as the opposite, a completely logical and unemotional purchasing behavior.

But that is far from the truth.

I can say this because I am a member of a VERY loyal B2B consumer base, HubSpot. I remember attending Inbound and hearing the story about how HubSpot grew to where it is now. It gave me hope, the values of HubSpot directly aligned with the values of my company and personal beliefs.

How do I know I am emotionally attached? I really can’t tell you how Hubspot Marketing Automation differs from Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, SharpSpring, etc. because truly I do not care, in my eyes there is only one marketing automation platform.

B2B businesses need to position themselves to take advantage of this B2C tactic, yes features, benefits, and product specs matter, but if you can align your business values with your target market’s – your competition begins to disappear.

Other areas B2B followed

When writing this article. Here at this exact point in typing I noticed the word count and thought, TL;DR – so I sparknote’d the rest below. Please let me know if you have any questions as I am happy to explain. Also have some to add? leave it in the comments.

  • Social Proof Selling – Using reviews to increase conversion rates by decreasing perceived risk.
  • Persona Marketing – In-depth demographics and psycho-graphics to speak directly to decision makers.
  • Content & Social Media Marketing – Generating shareable content to reach your audience.
  • Chatbots – Automated customer service and self service technology.


B2B and B2C marketing are not as different as we commonly make them out to be. Purchasing decisions are still coming down to individual(s) that have consumer preferences. In order for a B2B marketer to grow with the times, they should look at the B2C market now and analyze current trends and ask a couple questions:

  1. Will this trend be full adopted by the general public?
  2. If it is, how will it look in B2B and how can I prepare my business for it?

Areas that this might fit:

  1. Augmented reality or virtual reality – Help understand complex products, or online buying if you can witness a product remotely
  2. Cryptocurrency – becoming more widely used as a B2B payment, especially in an international setting.

B2C just subscribed a minute ago.

Time to follow.


There is no doubt that the use of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are common practice in every business. It is great to quantify an employee’s, your own, or a team’s performance to promote great work and constant improvement.

Although this type of bench-marking when used correctly can help a company grow, it can also come with some huge negatives that can be hurtful to an organization.

Encouraging employees to seek one number, not growth

In the beginning of my professional marketing career I remember being heavily praised for our increase in Facebook followers. When you jump from 0 to over ten thousand followers in a matter of month it does make it feel like you are doing something right.

I remember everyday, I would look at the notifications and see 20-30 new followers every morning – which at that time made me feel like a marketing all-star.

Because we saw this growth, management encouraged further spending. So we grew quicker! (weird how that works).

Key Performance Indicators

After we stabilized our social media dominance we focused on social media engagement, and we realized that the posts with the most engagement came from sharing fun facts, giveaways, cute pictures, or health quotes. Almost all of our content was not talking about our product, and we definitely were not creating thought leadership in the industry.

So with this massive fan base and engagement, of course our sales went up right?

They remained absolutely flat!

In the most simple way of explaining it, my KPI encouraged me to spenda lot of the marketing budget that just equated to showing a bunch of cute kitty pictures to an astronomical amount of Facebook bots. (It was a very large problem for Facebook back then)

Facebook KPIs

Of course this metric is a vanity metric, but the same goes to a variety of other metrics. For example, if an employee is encouraged to get a number of leads every month, do you think those leads will be the most qualified, or just the ones that are easiest to obtain that won’t lead to any revenue for the company.

Gives you false promise

Let’s say you have created a blog for your product. As you start writing, you start getting a good amount of subscribers. For the new company you are, this is the shining light, very few other channels are producing results.

So what do you do? You double down on content and start popping bottles (or poking straws into juice boxes, whatever you are into) because you just found the channel that is providing you with results!

After the week long celebration you get out of your coma and realize that your business bank account does not have enough money to buy the next bottle.

But how could this be?

Because your business associated success with something that is irrelevant. You can not pay the power company on subscribers, yes these metrics are great to see but they do not keep the lights on.

It encourages unethical behavior

As we learned from Wells Fargo, employees can do some very unethical things when they are driven by meeting specific goals, or KPIs. At Wells Fargo, their sales goals were so high that employees where creating fake accounts in order to meet them and be financially rewarded.

Although this is clearly a drastic case, think about how a similar thing could happen in your organization:

  • Social Media Following – Buy the following via use of bots
  • MQLs – Do a slight change in the MQL qualification metric, or push a pointless email to trigger leads into the MQL bucket
  • Leads – Buy them via a database or submit false leads through forms to make them look like inbound.
  • Organic Search – go after irrelevant but high traffic keywords
  • SEM – Use general broad terms to get the trigger happy crowd

The above show how easy it is to manipulate almost any KPI. The worst part about these manipulations is that it costs the business to lie to itself.

So how do you create a good KPI?

In order to create KPIs that actually helps the business, a business just needs to remember what is keeping them in business.


Every KPI should always play a direct role in generating revenue for the business, if it isn’t, why would you reward someone for just simply using your money. (but if you like just blatantly spending money, email me immediately..I GOT IDEAS!)

As managers and marketers, it is very easy to see just one giant funnel. The concept is, just keep pouring in as many leads on the top, and then out the bottom comes revenue, but this is not always the truth.

The more you can track which channels are responsible for the highest revenues for the company, the better you can effectively allocate your budget and optimize your ROI.

I have no revenue.

So this whole Subscriber KPI works for me.

Throughout my blogs you will undoubtedly hear me preach the need for automation across all areas of marketing as well as any operation. Yet, there are negatives to automation.

Look at your inbox right now (I know you won’t but at least imagine it?) How many of your emails are coming from real people? How many emails do you receive that you are emotionally attached to?

Commonly it is a very small percentage. Automated messages (especially in email) are so easy to create and are making it incredibly easy for marketers to reach an enormous amount of prospects in one send.

But at what cost?

Physical cost.. almost nothing. Email still remains one of the most cost effective mediums in marketing…

The cost of loyalty and attachment to a brand is the cost. They are costing companies more and more each year.

Throughout the digital transformation movement we have been looking for ways to automate the processes across all departments. Although in doing so we have also deteriorated the one-on-one relationships that were typically so important to make a sale.

On the plus side, the cost of acquiring customers has dropped but on the negative side, we are seeing the public lose their loyalty for brands more and more each year.

This is because we are no longer aiming to build a relationship, we are looking to push promotions, sales, and nurture campaigns all through automated messaging.

The truth is, every consumer knows what these emails look like, they have become numb to them and they tend to blend together in your inbox. At no point does someone feel like they are special to that brand in a mass email, because they always know that the email was sent to more than just them.

Many emails have attempted to move to plain text to solves this, but truly it is fooling no one, especially when the unsubscribe button is at the bottom.

Anyways, because of this tactic, consumers and businesses do not have the emotional connection with one particular brand, instead they are moving from brand to brand based on whatever variable means the most to them (this is commonly coming down to price).

This does not mean that you your business should shut down your automated messaging or your large email sends (they are most likely generating a positive ROI), but it does mean that you should be looking into initiatives to delight your customers, create one-on-one relationships, and drive emotion.

In a small business with limited resources it can be tough to build this one-on-one relationship effectively, here are a couple:


1. Personalization to the extreme

Every company is dropping in your contact details from a CRM into mass email cadences. These personalizations do wonders for open rates and click rates, but the truth is they nearly do nothing for loyalty.

In order to really build loyalty you need to show information that goes past the conventional informational plug-ins.

This type of information is typically something that you learned from a discussion and that is commonly a personal trait rather than a company trait. Such as; where you went to school, planned or previous vacation spots, etc. by referring back to these non-typical pieces of information, you prove that an individual is listening and a relationship is able to be established.

This can be easily done with just listening to your customers/prospects and maintaining your CRM. If you know your way around marketing automation, it is very easy to put in a workflow. (Automating works if nobody knows)


2. Presents / rewards (action based)

It feels like everyone has a loyalty program these days. Although do they really drive loyalty? I personally believe they only eliminate even competition but not truly create loyalty.

For example, I loved Delta Airlines. Even before being in their reward club, I preferred their service over any other airline. Even though they are giving me perks to fly with them, I am still cost sensitive. I will happily choose Southwest Airlines if they come in at a lower price.

My point here is that when a rewards program offers the sames incentives to everyone, you can strengthen the preference to use the product, but you do not gain die hard loyalty.

Building Die Hard loyalty takes one-on-one behavior. This can be easily done by sending gifts. Not the typically Holiday gifts companies send “Happy holidays from ABC Company” – that’s not personal at all.

Hungry? Here is the link.

Instead sending them gifts for things then never expected. Some of these events could be; hitting milestones that were not disclosed prior, big news that happened to their company (Google alerts can help you with finding those), promotions, etc.

By catching people by surprise with gifts shows them there is a one-on-one relationship and that they are far more than a typical customer.


3. Putting a face to a product

Think about your shopping experience, how often is another human involved. If you say “frequently” then one of us is shopping wrong.

eCommerce and large bx stores have made the customer service part of buying only there when you need it. Is this bad? Not for me. I wear giant head phones when I shop for a reason.

On a negative side, it makes it really tough to build an emotional connection. You never interact with a human, meaning whatever buy is just a product, which can most likely be found in numerous locations (AKA your competitors)

In an eCommerce setting we have noticed a huge growth in chatbots for this reason (seriously did Drift just become a massive company overnight?) But that is not enough.

Look to putting an actual human face to the experience of buying. Even better the same human face!

Through today’s marketing platforms you can assign a customer to a current employee and make that employee the name that sends emails, the face that is on chat, the one that is on a note in a shipment, etc. By building that one-on-one experience, you can drive a feeling of being a partnership, rather than just a product?

Did I miss other ways to get up in peoples’ personal space? Let me know in the comments below!

Let’s establish this one-on-one relationship

Starting with your email.

I would assume very few houses have been erected without a plan.
The truth is if you are looking to build a quality home, you do not just walk into Home Depot buy a bunch of plywood, two by fours, and nail gun and later end up with a house that your neighbors are all jealous of.
Every structure needs to have a well thought out plan before you start to invest time and money into it.
Architects need to plan for the climate and abide by regulations for every build, similarly, marketers must do the same.
Although many new business owners may think it is impossible to know what kind of marketing plan will help their business grow, there are a couple clear giveaways that will at least help guide to where the best return on investment may lie.
One question that typical marketers ask is
Are we B2C or B2B?
To be fair, this plays a large role in what channels you choose, a B2B marketer most likely will not have a great ROI through SnapChat or Instagram like a B2C marketing campaign would have.
Although, there is another simple question that plays a role in how a business should market, and that simple question is:
Is a business in a blue ocean or red ocean environment?
red ocean business is a company that has numerous competitors and the products and services are fairly well known.
A blue ocean business typically has few competitors (if any) and their offering is fairly unknown to the general public.

How does this help the marketing plan?

By knowing a business type leadership can assess what a typical customer looks like and their knowledge of your offering. This helps you identify your biggest objective.
If you are a red ocean product then your potential customers are most likely already searching for a product and you need to find ways to make yourself first in the hunt for their purchase, or make yourself look better than the competition.
On the other end, if you are blue ocean, very few consumers will be actively looking for your product, therefore your main objective should be to understand your potential buyer and inform them of your offering in their day-to-day lives.
Due to the fact that prospects are not actively looking for the product, marketers need to position themselves between their target market’s typical search and lifestyle.
This can be done through the following ways:

Be Adventurous

If you take only one thing away from this blog I hope it is this,
“Blue Ocean products are full of UNCERTAINTY.” 
What does this mean for your business? It means that nobody can tell a new blue ocean business that a certain channel will drive results. You can not apply typical marketing to this type of business, as it is not a typical business.
To find out the best way to drive revenue, try everything. 
I know what you are thinking – “Try everything? Being a tiny company, I do not have the ability to do it all.” 
But you do!
Small businesses have an extreme advantage, they have the ability to use almost the exact same technology as a large corporation but without the red tape around using it.
Making it easy for a small business to quickly make, test, and shut down campaigns, while automating the entire process to maximize reach, efficiency, and productivity.


Customers are not always easy to get, but once there are one or two they will give clues as to how to get more.
I am not talking about word of mouth as a marketing channel, but I am talking about listening to their journey of finding the business, what they were doing beforehand, what drew them to you, etc.
All of these items play a massive role in finding similar audiences, while giving the messaging to reel them in. 
By dropping these themes into current marketing channels marketers can narrow the target market and be more efficient with budget while of course growing revenue.

Follow the data

Although this goes against the previous paragraph, customers are not always right.
They give clues to help you build marketing, but Blue Ocean is FULL OF UNCERTAINTY.
What a customer says is still loaded with their own personal biases and personal experiences. So before a small business uses their agility and jumps into a large marketing spend due to customers’ suggestions, be sure to test what they are saying. 
What drives a good test? It is the same as what drives a great business, revenue. 
The use of marketing automation and CRMs have allowed almost any business to dive deep into their sales funnel and see what campaigns have had the highest return of revenue.
Although other metrics like leads, engagement, or reach are commonly correlated with revenue, they are not the causation of it and therefore they should not be seen as an indicator of success.
A business owner will always be attached to their customers and their own personal beliefs about how a company should be represented, but the best way to find success is through following unbiased data.

Disrupt the Red Ocean

Just because a business is Blue Ocean, does not mean you can not take sales from Red Ocean companies.
There are a lot of businesses that may offer similar products and/or speak to satisfying similar pain points, by aligning to those target audiences will undoubtedly make it easier to explain how your product works and its public need.
Creating Google audiences, targeting certain social followings, mimicking content, or advertising on specific company or product searches are great ways to jump in front of these audiences.



Blue Ocean companies, need to know 1 thing.. That nothing is certain, but by being adventurous, listening to customers, following data, and advertising to similar markets any business can learn your top channels for growth and grow quickly.


Here’s one way to decrease uncertainty.

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